Hawthorne’s Fall Thoroughbred Meet Shows 29 Percent Handle Increase

In a year that saw a break during the summer harness meet for racing, limited to no fans in the facility, and uncertainty throughout the industry with virus concerns, the fall Thoroughbred meet at Hawthorne in Stickney, Ill. wrapped up with strong handle and field size increases. While the vast majority of handle came from locations off-site due to Covid-19 restrictions, great support from the horsemen in the entry box, beautiful weather, and support of the wagering public made for sizeable gains during the 34 day fall meet.

For handle, with restrictions in place throughout 2020, the only true comparison comes with total handle as $65,658,122 was wagered over the 34 racing days in 2020. This was compared to $44,763,380 wagered on the 30 cards in the 2019 October through December timeframe. This translated to a 29 percent per card increase in handle of $1,931,121 wagered per card in 2020 compared to $1,492,112 in the fall of 2019. For the 2020 meet, 15 cards surpassed $2 million in handle, compared to just one in 2019.

Field size greatly increased as well. With 298 races run in 2020, compared to 277 in 2019, a total of 2,694 horses started this fall, compared to 2,251 last season. Total average field size for the meet increased from 8.13 per race in 2019 to 9.04 in 2020. The nice weather paid off for turf races as 49 races were run on the grass in 2020, compared to just 19 in 2019.

On the track, jockey Victor Santiago won his second Hawthorne riding title, winning 32 races. 2019 champ Jareth Loveberry had another strong meet, finishing with 28 wins. Loveberry was followed by Chris Emigh, Julio Felix, and newcomer Francisco Arrieta, each with 27 wins apiece.

Trainer Hugh Robertson took his second consecutive training title, winning 26 races this fall. Scott Becker finished second with 16 wins. A strong first Hawthorne meet from Karl Broberg had him in third with 14 victories, tied with Brittany Vandenberg.

A big closing day pushed Novogratz Racing Stables to the owner’s title, winning 16 races, followed by William Stritiz with 13 victories and End Zone Athletics, Inc. with 10 wins.

Two horses won five races during the fall meet as Wake Up Joe and Verrazano First both accomplished that feat. Readthecliffnotes scored four times during the fall racing season.

“2020 has been a year unlike any other at Hawthorne,” stated Hawthorne President and General Manager Tim Carey. “We faced uncertainty with the racing schedule, fans on-site, and working around casino construction at our facility. Working hand in hand with our horsemen made a great difference though. They are excited about what is just around the corner at Hawthorne for racing and showed their support all meet long. While 2020 turned out to be a strong fall meet for us, I cannot wait for what we can do for racing in Illinois in 2021 and beyond.”

The post Hawthorne’s Fall Thoroughbred Meet Shows 29 Percent Handle Increase appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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